Real Live Action


w/ the Gentle Infidels, the Hunnies, the Belushis, the Creaking Planks, Vincent Parker

Nathan Pike's Place; September 3, 2011

by Fraser Dobbs

Every year, Nathan Pike pours his heart and soul into a day-long musical festival known as Franklinfest. Named after the street his home faces and held in his front yard, the event offered up a series of sounds that echoed throughout industrial East Van.

The Gentle Infidels didn’t let the relentless sun slow their fierce and energetic prog-folk performance. Guitarist Edwin Bond usually comes packing ten to twelve instruments in different tunings, but the day’s shorter set required only a “stripped-down” four — but each was used to great effect, with the group turning traditional folk into a mathy and complicated sound. The Gentle Infidels didn’t need pedals or amplifiers to capture the crowd’s attention.

The Hunnies, playing their second show ever, served up ‘60s all-girl pop laced with the kind of nectar that permeates floral wallpaper and retro lampshades. While the band still needs a lot of practice before being a cohesive musical project, their feel-good songs still found a way to set the perfect mood as the sun fell in front of them. The only disappointing part of their performance was learning that their bassist was married.

“Work our day jobs, then rock ‘n’ roll all night!” I might be paraphrasing, but this is definitely the prevailing and defining attitude of the Belushis. While their passionate, all-about-the-music performance might come across as cheesy as performed by a younger crew, the Belushis have had a long time to hone their trade, and it showed. If you can cite Spinal Tap as an influence, their set went was cranked as close to eleven as possible, with insane guitar solos zooming across the yard and frontman/bassist Ferdy Belland pointing menacingly into the crowd.

The Creaking Planks were perhaps the most perfect fit for the day’s festivities—baroque, zany and just a little silly, the jug band of the damned thoroughly impressed with their performance. Those unfamiliar with the Creaking Planks were gleefully surprised to absorb set-standard covers of Britney Spears and Nine Inch Nails.

Vincent Parker made sure that I wouldn’t refer to him as a DJ in my review — and to his credit, not a single record was touched or scratched in the ensuing electronica set that capped the evening. “Electronic Maestro” was the preferred term, and it fits — Parker sculpted incredibly organic tunes that implemented other instruments than his laptop and some digital toys. People dance maniacally behind him until his last encore wound down. Even as the PA was packed up and tired feet made their way home, there was a steady and heavy clamouring for more, more, more. Maybe next year.